The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland
that is located below the bladder and surrounds the urethra of males.
In a normal adult man, it weighs two thirds of an ounce and measures,
at most, 1.6 inches along its transverse axis, 1.2 inches along its
vertical axis, and 0.8 inches along its horizontal axis. Its function
is to produce a fluid that makes up approximately 30 percent of the
volume of semen. This fluid, containing citric acid, calcium, and
enzymes, probably improves sperm motility (ability to swim) and
fertility. Moreover, the fluid secreted from the prostate includes
zinc, which scientists theorize protects against genital-tract
The prostate is peculiar to the male
but related in tissue type to the female breast. It is made up of a
well-muscled capsule within which are found 30 to 50 saclike glands.
These glands produce the prostatic fluid, without which a man would
almost certainly be infertile. The tissue within the glands is
folded, allowing for expansion and storage as the fluid is produced.
After a male reaches puberty, the sacs begin producing a small amount
of fluid each day, which is normally voided with the urine if he has
no sexual relations. Not all the prostateís functions are known,
but its primary purpose seems to be to produce the fluid that
nourishes millions of sperm cells and provides them with a medium to
swim in. Thus, it is vital for a manís fertility. It can, though,
also cause him problems as he gets older.